Head coach Rick Stone is delighted by the way Jake Mamo is growing into his role with Huddersfield Giants.
The 23-year-old was Stone’s most wanted man in the close season and he eventually completed the deal to bring the full-back over from his former club Newcastle Knights.
An ankle injury following a motorcycle accident delayed Mamo’s start in Super League , but once he was up and running the former New South Wales Under 20s star has found his feet in style.
The four tries he scored in the 56-12 destruction of Catalans Dragons in Perpignan in the last round of Super League took the Aussie’s tally to 12 touchdowns from just eight appearances, but Stone is probably more gratified by the player’s defensive work.
“Jake has obviously been impressive in terms of scoring tries,” said Stone.
“But he has also been working very hard on organising the defence.
“It is an important part of the full-back’s role, so he is developing his organisational skills and he is talking well.
“When we are on the ball he gets plenty of possession, he is very energetic and works to get himself into the game.
“But full-backs still have to work when you don’t have the ball, and Jake has a strong voice and gets players to move for him – not all blokes can do that.
“He also has a deal of urgency in his voice which really helps that process.
“When he was young he used to sit behind Kurt Gidley and watch him manage the defensive line and he has learned a lot from that.
“Jake’s only 23 and he hasn’t played a whole heap of first grade games, but he is a smart kid and he learns quickly.”
St Helens coach Justin Holbrook wants his side to cut the gap to the top four when they face the Giants.
Holbrook wants St Helens to make the most of their game in hand as they bid to move closer to the top four, with Saints currently sixth and six points adrift of Hull FC in fourth.
The 41-year-old, who took charge of the club in May, expects a tough battle with Huddersfield but is confident Saints can claim what would be a vital win.
He said: “We know the importance of the game and I’m sure the Giants are thinking the same too. The fact we can get a bit closer to the leading group is an important one for us.
“We’ll also be at full strength too. The performance staff are doing a great job at keeping us healthy.”
St Helens centre Matty Fleming has extended his loan spell at Super League rivals Leigh for another month. The 21-year-old has scored one try in four appearances for the Centurions but missed the victory over Wigan with an ankle injury.
Ukuma Ta’ai has returned to the Giants 19-man squad for the game against St Helens after being out with a back injury since the end of March
The 30-year-old Tonga international forward has replaced recent signing Jordan Turner, who picked up a hamstring injury in the 56-12 win over Catalans Dragons last time out.
For Saints Danny Richardson is named in the side with Dominique Peyroux stepping aside.
Giants: Jake Mamo, Jermaine McGillvary, Leroy Cudjoe, Lee Gaskell, Aaron Murphy, Danny Brough, Sam Rapira, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Shannon Wakeman, Dale Ferguson, Kruise Leeming, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Oliver Roberts, Ukuma Ta’ai, Paul Clough, Nathan Mason, Alex Mellor, Adam O’Brien, Martyn Ridyard
Saints: Jonny Lomax, Tommy Makinson, Ryan Morgan, Mark Percival, Adam Swift, Theo Fages, Matty Smith, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Kyle Amor, Jon Wilkin, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Luke Douglas, Luke Thompson, Tommy Lee, Morgan Knowles, Danny Richardson, Regan Grace, Zeb Taia.